Planning and construction of the Tumbler Ridge Branch Line

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 76, No. 853, 1983
V.W. SHTENKO Chief Engineer, B.J. ENNIS Project Engineer, P.M. BRIDGE, Electrical/Mechanical Engineer, British Columbia Railway, North Vancouver
Abstract The northeastern region of British Columbia contains large quantities of high-quality metallurgical coal. To market the coal, it was necessary to provide the required infrastructure which included rail access. This paper presents the role of the British Columbia Railway in the northeast coal development.
In 1976, B.C. Railway undertook to study two main routes, one originating at Chetwynd and the other at Anzac, both located on the main line, north of Prince George. The routes studied are briefly described, detailing the methodology and engineering analysis carried out to permit the selection of a single route that would be the most cost effective, taking into consideration the construction, maintenance and operating costs. The operating parameters, track and grade standards, anticipated tonnage, construction costs and the final route selected are also presented.
Pre-engineering analysis and studies of the route selected originating at Anzac, known as Tumbler Ridge Branch Line, and which commenced in 1977, were concluded in 1978. New mapping was developed to a scale of 1:2000 with good vertical and horizontal control. Based on the mapping data, terrain analysis, and designs developed, an estimate of construction costs and schedule of work was developed.
Authority to proceed with the final design and construction was provided in December 1980, with the first shipment scheduled for December 1, 1983. Final designs of all structures are discussed, including schedules, cost to completion, and control systems utilized. The decision to electrify the Tumbler Ridge Branch Line and related topics are discussed, with a brief description of train operations. The present status of the project is also presented.
Keywords: Coal developments, Northeast B.C., Tumbler Ridge branch line, B.C. Railway, Anzac, Terrain analysis, Maintenance, Avalanche monitoring, Environmental control, Electrification, Locomotives, Track structure, Grade design, Tunnel design.
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